CAT S61: One of the best rugged phones gets a laser-powered upgrade

If you ask me, smartphones can't have enough sensors. Sure, the communicator was my favorite Star Trek gadget growing up, but coming in a close second was the tricorder. Starfleet's palmtop scanner could see through walls, alert the crew to the presence of poison gases, and determine the distance to the nearest drove of dilithium – all while surviving the kind of punishing abuse only Paramount Pictures soundstages- I mean, Exotic Alien Worlds could dish out.

The Cat S61 isn't quite a proper tricorder, but it comes closer than almost any modern smartphone. The sequel to last year's Cat S60 adds a laser rangefinder and air quality sensor to an even beefier chassis with improved waterproofing and durability, while also improving the FLIR thermal camera to support higher resolution and a wider range of temperatures. Best of all, it doesn't skimp on the smartphone fundamentals with a 4500mAh battery, removable storage, and Android 8.1 (with a guaranteed upgrade to Android P).

At $999, the Cat S61 isn't for the casual consumer – but if it lives up to even half its promises, it might be just the phone for the construction worker, electrician, or Starfleet away team member in your life. Check out the MrMobile Cat S61 Hands-On video above, and stay tuned for the full review to come later in 2018!

Stay social, my friends

  • I had a CAT 60 for one month, it the most fragile smartphone I had. the plastic and aluminium are substandard that is easy dented, and the doors that you need to open to acces the different port are so fragile, they broke after less than a month... a galaxy s3 phone with a case are harder.
  • The casing should have been made out of steel if they wanted true "ruggedness" not aluminum. Their support is also terrible. I bought 1 fir my friend a few years ago and was stuck in whatever version it had forever. If it was cheaper I would buy one for my dad, just for the cool construction appeal. And Dat battery life has to be amazing ! 4500 mAh on SD 630 guarantees 48 hours of moderate to heavy use.
  • So far this year this is the only phone I've seen that would be worth that $999 price tag.